Tito is back.
The Cleveland Indians have hired Terry Francona to be their new skipper. Francona will be formally introduced on Monday. He is expected to sign a four-year contract.
The Indians fired Manny Acta during the last week of the regular season. Sandy Alomar, Jr. managed the final six games of the season. The Tribe interviewed Alomar for the post but passed him over in favor of Francona. Alomar has been asked to remain with the team as the team’s bench coach.
Francona has previous big league managerial experience with the Philadelphia Phillies (1997-2000) and the Boston Red Sox (2004-2011). During his first season at the helm of the Bosox, he led the team to their first World Series title in 86 years and followed with a second title three years later.
Unfortunately, his tenure came to an abrupt end in Boston following their September collapse in 2011 in which they missed the post-season. The Red Sox hired Bobby Valentine to replace him and, well, we all know how that turned out.
Francona spent the 2012 season in the broadcast booth with ESPN providing color commentary for Sunday Night Baseball. Ironically, Francona replaced Valentine in that role.
In twelve seasons a a big league manager, Francona has compiled a record of 1029-915.
Francona is no stranger to Cleveland. His father Tito played with the Indians for six seasons in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He also played one season with the Tribe in 1988.
The Indians have not won a World Series since 1948. If Francona could lead the Tribe to a World Series after having done so with the Red Sox then he will have punched his ticket to Cooperstown.
The Tribe has a young team which got off to good starts in both 2011 and 2012 only to fade down the stretch. The Tigers will be a challenge but if anyone can put the Indians over the hump in the AL Central it is Tito.
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